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" Live out of your imagination

not your history "

Stephen R. Covey

Celts – Art & Identity

July 14th, 2015

A new exhibition, entitled Celts – Art & Identity, is coming to the British Museum on 24th September 2015 to run until 31 January 2016, curated by Julia Farley, who contributed last year’s Mt Haemus paper and Fraser Hunter, National Museums Scotland. The exhibition then goes up to Edinburgh.  This is how the BM site introduces it:

Come on a journey tracing what it means to be Celtic. The more you look, the more you’ll see…

This is the first major exhibition to examine the full history of Celtic art and identity, and is organised in partnership with National Museums Scotland. The story unfolds over 2,500 years, from the first recorded mention of ‘Celts’ to an exploration of contemporary Celtic influences. Discover how this identity has been revived and reinvented over the centuries, across Britain, Europe and beyond.

Many objects provide clues to and raise questions about Celtic identity. From the depths of the River Thames come magnificent Iron Age treasures such as the Waterloo helmet and Battersea shield. Roman jewellery, early medieval manuscripts and crosses, a Liberty tea set and even a modern football shirt tell a constantly evolving British and Irish story. Major loans, such as the spectacular Gundestrup cauldron, reveal profound cultural connections across Europe.

The fascinating art and history explored in the exhibition have deep resonances for those in Britain, Ireland and the global Celtic diaspora today, influencing everything from music and literature to sport and spirituality.

On one of the museum’s webpages about the exhibition, they have reproduced Will Worthington’s painting of the Prince of Swords from The DruidCraft Tarot, which shows the Waterloo helmet and the Battersea shield. Have a look here.

And here is Dr Farley and Dr Hunter talking about the exhibition:

5 Responses to “Celts – Art & Identity”

  1. This will be an amazing exhibition. It will be great to get the Celtic influence back in the domain of influence on all of British culture, including England. I live in a very Celtic rooted part of England near to St Albans but recognition of the Celtic influence locally is very minimal.
    Neill Sankey

      • Fantastic, Julia! Looks like a ceremonial/ritualistic item rather than ‘bling’ or ‘functional’. We found an Iron Age forge here in Orkney whilst examining the ‘mysterious’ underground spiral stone staircase at Mine Howe. The skeleton of a young woman was discovered at the entrance to the forge which might indicate that human sacrifice was associated with Iron Age working at the ‘sharp end’ (forgive that awful pun!) Will certainly get to the B.M. exhibition, and as Fraser suggested I’ll follow it up in E’burgh – which of course will be easier for me travel-wise.

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